Marketing Featured Global

SK-II’s latest global campaign a movement to empower Tokyo-based women entrepreneurs

Tokyo, Japan – The pandemic has been a tough setback for small businesses globally and especially in Japan with the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The latest data shows that 87% of women business owners globally have been adversely affected by the pandemic. This adds to a preexisting difficult climate in Japan for women entrepreneurs who are among the lowest within the G7 countries (4.4%. Around 22% of women in Japan aspire to own their own businesses but only 5.3% of businesses are actually owned by women.

Such a current state among women entrepreneurs in Japan, especially in Tokyo, has led to global skincare brand SK-II to focus its latest campaign to create a much-needed spotlight on a community that has been highly impacted by the pandemic—women-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs in Tokyo.

Titled ‘Beyond The Stadium’, the campaign depicts a much-needed spotlight on a community that has been highly impacted by the pandemic—women-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs in Tokyo. The campaign, narrated by long-standing brand ambassador and Japanese actress Kaori Momoi, features the stories of Olympic athletes such as gymnast Simon Biles and surfer Mahina Maeda, as well as select women entrepreneurs in Tokyo, ranging from owners of a flower shop, a Japanese rice ball store, and a jewelry store.

Created alongside creative agency Forsman & Bodenfors Singapore, said campaign juxtaposes struggles faced by Olympic athletes in pursuing their dreams with the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs and small business owners in Tokyo over the past year which has been amplified by the lack of anticipated visitors for the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Speaking about the creative process, Susanna Fagring, CEO at Forsman & Bodenfors Singapore, stated that in their long-standing relationship with SK-II, they tried to encourage women to stand up for their dreams and fight for their goals in life. Despite that, looking back at the past year with all its challenges, this is something easier said than done, according to her.

“The campaign shows that stories from Olympic athletes are actually not that different from stories of female entrepreneurs in Tokyo. They were all hoping for their big moments, be it inside or outside of the arena, and now they all need our cheering and support. Now we are hoping to create support for the female business community in Tokyo. In the wake of the loss of anticipated visitors to the Olympic Games, they need it more than ever,” Fagring said.

Meanwhile, Markus Strobel, president of skin and personal care at P&G, commented that in these unprecedented times we are in, consumers have a much higher expectation towards brands and businesses, adding that they know that they have an even larger social responsibility to the communities they operate in and be a force for good.

Strobel’s statement echoes the widespread campaign SK-II has launched recently, including a ‘virtual city’ featuring the stores of these women entrepreneurs in Tokyo. Such slew of campaigns lives up to the brand purpose of SK-II: #CHANGEDESTINY.

“#CHANGEDESTINY is at the heart of our brand purpose at SK-II. For years, we have celebrated how destiny is not a matter of chance, but a matter of choice through the stories of courageous women around the world. With the launch of ‘Beyond the Stadium’ and our virtual shopping street within SK-II City, we are taking yet another step forward in our #CHANGEDESTINY journey,” Strobel said.

He added, “It means a lot to us to be able to continue to support women-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs to keep their dreams alive in these challenging times in Tokyo as the Worldwide Partner of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.”

In line with this, SK-II dedicates its #CHANGEDESTINY FUND to a program to support women-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs impacted by the pandemic in Tokyo. Proceeds from the #CHANGEDESTINY FUND, worth US$500k will go towards a year-long program supporting women-owned small business and entrepreneurs in Tokyo with Shibuya City and MEETALK—a Tokyo-based women entrepreneurship network to equip them with digital and social skills, business networks, and platform to build and keep the business of their dreams alive in these unprecedented times. 

Marketing Featured East Asia

Head & Shoulders Japan’s new campaign an action-packed animated espionage tale

Tokyo, Japan – Head & Shoulders, the anti-dandruff shampoo brand of Procter & Gamble, has released a new animated campaign for its Japanese market, narrating a tale of espionage of dandruff prevention.

Entitled ‘The Chase’, the campaign follows Ando the spy as he is being chased by Detective Takashi and his henchmen across the world. Despite hiding at every corner in the world, Ando is somehow tracked down by Detective Takashi due to the ‘trail of dandruff’ he left behind. But after using H&S scalp product, Ando manages to escape the henchman-now without a trace.

The campaign centers around the message of ‘Don’t let dandruff get in the way’ as Procter and Gamble aims to promote a new line of Head & Shoulders products in the Japanese market. The campaign also aimed at portraying the issue of dandruff among Japanese men in an anime-inspired context, as Japanese men rarely speak about dandruff-related issues.

“The campaign not only marks the launch of our new line of anti-dandruff products in Japan, but is also the start of an exciting new journey where we want to help men break free from the stigma that surrounds dandruff, providing a solution both to a haircare issue and an everyday life barrier,” said Kylene Campos, vice president for Japan and Korea for hair care at P&G.

The campaign was done in collaboration with creative agency Forsman & Bodenfors Singapore. The collective has also worked with Psyop/Blacklist – renowned for managing the best animators in the world – and high-profile animation company Wizz’s director duo CRCR to bring the vision of Ando and this adventure to life. 

“Animation is a category convention breaking approach, aimed to stand out from traditional product-focused shampoo commercials. The 2.5D animation style was chosen to convey the desired mix between the realism of the characters and settings and the liberties animation allows for which heightens both the action and humor of the film,” Forsman & Bodenfors stated in a press statement.

According to Shum Qihao, creative at Forsman & Bodenfors Singapore, knowing that talking about dandruff among men in Japan is met with a taboo factor, they aimed to create the campaign to uplift a humorous element to it, as well with a theme of action-packed sequences.

“We conceived Ando to prove the point that getting rid of dandruff is easier than most people think, and created a relatable yet aspirational character for audiences to showcase that. Every scene is crafted to dramatize the annoying consequences of having dandruff and how Ando finally finds the perfect solution to break free from it,” Qihao stated.

Meanwhile, Julia Blomquist, planner at Forsman & Bodenfors Singapore commented, “Greasiness and dandruff are associated with the feeling of shame and perception of being unhygienic, meaning few men discuss the issue or its possible solutions with others, and they are held back in daily life because of it. With this campaign, we tackle the issue by addressing it head on with humor, showing we understand the audience in a way that breaks the category convention.”

The original campaign, initially launched last 8 April, will be also available as two shorter spots catered for TV and social media campaigns, which will be accompanied by key visuals and GIFs for social media and digital display.

In addition, fans can follow the adventure on Twitter using the “#フケから救出大作戦” (#OperationRescueFromDandruff) hashtag. Adding to that, Ando will be taking over H&S Japan’s Twitter account where he will provide advice for men suffering from dandruff. There will also be a question box available for those who wish to ask questions anonymously.